American Elephants

Get Acquainted With “Uncommon Knowledge” by The Elephant's Child
April 2, 2009, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

I continue to be enthralled with the Uncommon Knowledge videos from the Hoover Institution.  Peter Robinson is a marvelous host, and his stimulating questions make for enlightening conversations.  His guests are very interesting people, and I learn so much by viewing the conversations that I unhesitantly recommend them.  This week’s conversation is with Richard Epstein, extraordinary professor of law at the University of Chicago.  Today’s segment discusses Barack Obama.

All of the recent Uncommon Knowledge videos are available here. Each segment is about 7 minutes long.  Time well spent.

$12,800,000,000,000 by American Elephant

Got $42,105?

The federal government has now spent, lent, or promised $12.8 trillion dollars — a number approaching the sum of the entire  Gross Domestic Product of the United States of America last year.

The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation’s gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008. [more]

And Obama keeps spending.

Why is the President of the United States Mucking About in the Personnel Department of a Public Corporation? by The Elephant's Child
April 2, 2009, 1:57 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

For every news story that comes out, there is a background story, a behind the scenes story, a historical story and a story from the other political party, or something like that.  The current big news is that the President of the United States fired the CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner.  Mr. Wagoner was not reforming General Motors fast enough.

President Obama says that “sacrifices” must be made if GM is to emerge as a viable company. Holman Jenkins Jr. points out in the  Wall Street Journal that there is no way Mr. Obama will make the sacrifice that might hinder his re-election chances by leaving the fate of the UAW up to a bankruptcy judge.  The necessary action here is major “sacrifice” by the United Auto Workers. This is not in Mr. Obama’s plans.

During the campaign, Barack Obama declared that “We are watching a Washington that has thrown open its doors to the most anti-union, anti-worker forces we’ve seen in generations.  Obama said “It’s time we had a president who will stand up for working men and women by building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but work and the workers who create it.””It’s time,” he said, “you had a president who honors organized labor — who’s walked on picket lines; who doesn’t choke on the word ‘union’; who lets our unions do what they do best and organize our workers; and who will finally make the Employee Free Choice Act the law of the land.”

Organized labor had great enthusiasm for Democrats.  Unions gave $58 million to congressional candidates in 2008, 91 percent of which went to Democrats.  On top of  that, labor leaders came up with another $44 million in independent funding on behalf of Obama.  That’s more than $100 million to help Democrats win federal office this year alone.  And by some estimates 450,000 union associates took part in get-out-the-vote efforts.  And now they expect to have their interests right at the top of the agenda.

When he was in the Senate, Obama voted with the AFL-CIO 98 percent of the time.  He was a co-sponsor of “card-check,” the bill that banned a secret ballot in union elections, opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, opposed  free trade with Columbia and South Korea, and has favored revising NAFTA to include the standards that Unions and Environmental organizations want.  The latter effort has spurred Mexico to put tariffs on American agricultural products.

Does it seem likely that Obama will allow the unions to be even slightly affected?

But that’s not all of the story: there is the Wagner Act of 1935, “labor’s bill of rights,” which forbade employers from interfering with or restraining employees from organizing or bargaining collectively, attempting to dominate or influence a union, refusing to bargain in “good faith” or to “discriminate” by special conditions of employment or in hiring. The addition of the 1975 “two fleets” rule effectively forces Detroit to make its cheap small cars in high-wage domestic UAW factories, even if it means losing money on every car. Bills that do not affect foreign car companies. The UAW’s Mr. Gettlefinger suggested in Congressional hearings that failure to renew the two fleets rule would cost 17,000 auto workers’ jobs building small cars. (This is the club the UAW has held over GM for 30 years).

The Obama Transportation Department has dumped a $150 billion cost on the auto companies for immediately improving auto mileage for the 2010 cars.  Obama and his environmental backers are all for 85 percent ethanol (which can’t be used in current engines), electric cars (there’s only the Volt, which costs way too much and doesn’t go very far).  They blather on about hydrogen batteries, and continue the nonsense that we must eliminate petroleum.  Mother Earth does not like people removing her precious oil, according to the greenies, but she loves wind and solar which do not power transportation.  Sigh.

Of course this is an extensive case of divert everyone’s’ attention. The troubles of the auto industry have been initiated by government, exacerbated by government, and continue to be caused by government.  Send in a “task force” that will have 3 weeks to learn about the auto industry, how it works and what its problems are, and then announce their findings.   All very simple. Nothing to do with government.

There is, unmentioned, a vast supply chain of businesses that make parts, and tires, floor mats and air conditioners; and the dealers, the mechanics, the body shops and far, far more.

The one question that nobody has asked is : How much more of taxpayer’s money is going to be invested in this hopeless situation?

So you see, there is the surface story, and like an iceberg, only a little of it appears above the surface.  The vast body of it, the dangerous part,  is hidden from view.  That was the part that sunk the Titanic.

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